The Network for Public Health Law monitors key court cases and relevant judicial trends in public health. The Network’s monthly reporter, Judicial Trends in Public Health (JTPH), highlights select published cases from the prior 3 months in public health law and policy. These cases are organized below by name, issuing court, date of issuance, along with a brief synopsis, link to the case abstract, and hyperlink to the full decisions (when publicly available). For more information, including a topic digest of these and other cases, see below. Questions, comments, thoughts? Contact the Network for more information.
New York v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, Nov. 6, 2019): The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York struck down a rule recently promulgated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that would have allowed health care providers and health care organizations to abstain from providing certain procedures, services, or research activities on the basis of moral or religious objections. Read the abstract and access the decision here.
Christopher G. Yanakos, et. al. v. UPMC, et. al. (Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Oct. 31, 2019): Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court found that the state’s statute of repose for medical malpractice claims, which established a deadline by which a lawsuit must be brought, was unconstitutional. Read the abstract and access the decision here.
Tulsa Women’s Reproductive Clinic v. Hunter et al. (Oklahoma County District Court, Oct. 29, 2019): The District Court for the County of Oklahoma temporarily blocked an Oklahoma state law requiring physicians to tell patients that medication abortions may be reversible and to refer patients to an abortion reversal hotline and website. Read the abstract and access the decision here.
Ms. J.P. et al. v. William P Barr (U.S. District Court, Central District of California, Nov. 5, 2019): A California district court ordered the federal government to provide a class of migrant parents subject to the “family separation policy” with mental health screenings and appropriate treatment for mental health conditions caused by the policy. Read the abstract and access the decision here
Boatmon and Cupid v. Secretary of Health and Human Services (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Nov. 7, 2019): The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a lower court decision finding that the parents of a child who died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) failed to prove that vaccinations caused the child’s death. Read the abstract and access the decision here.
Vapor Technology Association et al. v. Oregon Health Authority (Oregon Court of Appeals, Nov. 14, 2019): An Oregon appellate court blocked an effort by Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to promulgate a temporary rule banning the sale of flavored nicotine vaping products. Read the abstract and access the decision here.
New York v. United Parcel Service, Inc. (U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, Nov. 7, 2019): The Second Circuit Court of Appeals found that United Parcel Service (UPS) shipped untaxed cigarettes from Native American reservations to locations throughout New York, knowingly violating state and federal laws designed to curtail cigarette tax evasion. Read the abstract and access the decision here.
Hayden v. Maryland Department of Natural Resources (Maryland Court of Special Appeals, Sept. 3, 2019): The Maryland Court of Special Appeals upheld a ruling that an oyster harvester violated state food safety laws by removing oysters in the Chesapeake Bay from an area that had been closed due to pollution. Read the abstract and access the decision here.
Harris County v. S.K. & Bros. (Court of Appeals - 14th District of Texas, Nov. 5. 2019): A Texas appellate court held that a local government could sue dry-cleaners for violating the Texas Water Code’s (TWC) prohibition on unauthorized discharge of industrial waste into water. Read the abstract and access the decision here.
Arora et al., v. GNC Holdings, Inc., (U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Nov. 15, 2019): A California district court denied GNC’s motion to dismiss a consumer class action alleging GNC unlawfully marketed supplements by failing to include the required Food and Drug Administration (FDA) disclaimer on its labeling. Read the abstract and access the decision here.
TOPICS: These and other cases are organized on the Network website under the topics below (adapted from chapter titles in Public Health Law in a Nutshell (3rd Edition) by James G. Hodge, Jr., Director, Network for Public Health Law—Western Region). Select a topic below to view all cases under that topic.
1. Source & Scope of Public Health Legal Powers
2. Constitutional Rights & the Public's Health
3. Preventing & Treating Communicable Conditions
5. Addressing Chronic Conditions
6. Mitigating the Incidence & Severity of Injuries & Other Harms
7. Public Health Information Management, Privacy & Security
9. Monitoring Property & the Built Environment
JTPH is made possible through a collaboration of the Network’s Western and Eastern Region Offices led and edited by April Shaw, JD, PhD, Staff Attorney, at the Western Region Office. Additional contributors include: James G. Hodge, Jr., JD, LLM, Kathi Hoke, JD, Leila Barraza, JD, MPH, Kerri McGowan Lowrey, JD, MPH, Mathew R. Swinburne, JD, Megan Griest, MPP, Cecilia Nieto, and Emily Carey.